Curiosity is the gateway to learning, and the more curious your child is, the more they learn. Children learn best when they are allowed to explore and figure things out for themselves. You can help nurture that curiosity by providing them with opportunities to explore and ask questions. In this blog post, we will discuss some ways that you can help foster a sense of curiosity in your children.
Why is curiosity essential to acquiring knowledge?
Curiosity is a powerful way through which children learn and explore the world around them. Swiss child psychologist, Jean Piaget, defines curiosity as “the urge to explain the unexpected.” Curiosity is a crucial component of cognitive development, helping children develop problem-solving skills and critical thinking skills. In addition, curiosity encourages children to ask questions, which helps them learn more about the world around them. In an early childhood longitudinal study published in 2018, it was shown that greater curiosity was associated with greater kindergarten reading and academic achievement.
What can you do with your child to foster curiosity?
1. Unstructured play
Unstructured play, or free play, is where children are allowed to play on their own or with other children without adult intervention. This could involve playing with blocks, colouring, drawing or painting, or role-playing. In such scenarios, children are given the space to decide the rules of the game or how to draw without adults giving instructions or guiding them. By removing any pressure that would discourage exploration and stifle inquisitiveness, children feel free to try out different possibilities – and acquire new information and skills.
2. Provide a stimulating environment
By creating the right setting for your child at home, you trigger their interest and curiosity. Provide lots of books for them to read, and different types of educational toys – from telescopes to microscopes to fossil kits – that allow them to dip their toes in a particular topic. For example, by buying them a telescope, you might uncover an early interest in the mysteries of the Universe and its various planets.
Once your child develops an interest in a particular domain, such as dinosaurs, nurture that interest by taking them to a natural science museum or buying books about dinosaurs. The more rich, appealing and enriching the spaces you create within their room and your home, the greater your child’s exposure to new things and the more your child’s development.
3. Model curious behaviour
Your child takes after you. If you’re fascinated by the world around you, pointing out birds in the sky or flowers in the park, your child would start becoming aware of their surroundings too and hence, develop the ability to observe. They will learn to look at the world around them and appreciate the wonder that surrounds them. Don’t tell your child to be curious; show them what it means to be curious. And this isn’t hard when the world around us is teeming with enthralling life everywhere we look.
4. Visit the library often together
Reading is a fantastic way in which you can expose your child to many different worlds, cultures and realities. They are transported to a new realm without needing to step foot out of the front door. By igniting a love for reading early, you kickstart the cycle of exploration, discovery and curiosity. You never really know what your child might take to, and by encouraging reading through taking them to the library often, creating a reading corner or reading to them often – you increase the chances that they might stumble upon a topic they would develop a deep passion for.
Fuel your child’s urge to explain the unexpected
While curiosity may be innate in young children, as they grow older, this urge may be dulled by the pressure to perform or to conform to certain behaviours. As parents, we can keep the flame of curiosity burning even as our children mature by creating a stimulating environment and through specific activities.
MindSpace offers after school care services for primary school students that emphasise the importance of creating a learning environment that sparks curiosity. Spacious classrooms, state-of-the-art interactive screens, and dedicated areas for social interactions provide the optimal after school environment that would spur your Champ’s curiosity and creative development.
Speak to us to learn more.